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What’s New in VoiceOver in iOS 11

On Tuesday, September 19th, Apple released iOS 11, bringing with it some new VoiceOver features and improvements.

Apps

You can now drag and drop apps using VoiceOver To do this, do the following:

  1. While on the home screen, double tap and hold to enter edit mode.
  2. Find an app you wish to move.
  3. Set the VoiceOver rotor to”actions” if it’s not done automatically and flick up or down to “drag app name.”
  4. Navigate to where you wish to drop the app and choose an option. You can drop an app before the app that the VoiceOver cursor is focused on, after it, or create a folder containing the focused app and the one you’re dragging. If you wish to drag more than one app, you can choose the final option. This is to “Add To Drag Session.” You can use this method do drag files from one app to another minus the double tap and hold.

Verbosity

VoiceOver includes several new verbosity settings you can now change. They are located by tapping Settings>General>Accessibility>VoiceOver>Verbosity.

These options include:

  • Speak hints. This setting is on by default. Double tapping this setting will turn them off.
  • Punctuation. After double tapping this option, you can choose to set it to all, some, or none.
  • Speak detect text. This determines whether automatically detected text in the focused item is spoken. For example: If you are on an app with an unlabeled button, VoiceOver will announce something like “Button. Possible text: View menu.”
  • Capital letters: This option will change what VoiceOver does when encountering a capital letter. You can choose from speak cap, play sound, change pitch, and do nothing.
  • Deleting text: You can choose from speak, play sound, change pitch, and do nothing.
  • Embedded links: You can choose from speak, Play sound, change pitch, or do nothing.
  • There is a table output heading with options related to the reading of tables.
  • You can toggle reading of table headers and row and column numbers.
  • As in iOS 10, you can turn the emoji suffix on or off, depending on whether or not you want VoiceOver to speak the word “Emoji” when one is encountered.

Mail

You no longer need to three-finger tap on a message to hear the preview.

When reading a message, you have VoiceOver actions to reply, archive, flag, mark as read/unread, and to activate.

If you use threaded messaging, you have a rotor option, “Expand/Collapse Thread”. When expanded, you can manage all of the messages inside a thread on an individual basis.

Smart Actions Rotor

VoiceOver in iOS 11 now has a new feature that allows for the user to continue to use the last used actions rotor item. This is useful for deleting large amounts of messages. This feature also appears in the App Switcher

What have we missed?

Know something that is not on this list? Please let us know by emailing us at feedback@iaccessibility.net or tweet us at @iaccessibility1

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New VoiceOver Features in iOS 10

iOS 10 has a lot of goodies for everyone, including those of us who are blind or visually impaired. We are excited to introduce you to a few of the major VoiceOver changes in iOS 10, which are sure to improve your experience!

Pronunciation Editor

VoiceOver now has a pronunciation editor! The truth is no screen reader is going to pronounce every single word the way we’d like – this is especially true for names. Finally, iOS gains a pronunciation editor just like the Mac has had for years. You can check out this feature in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Speech > Pronunciations.

Verbosity Panel

Similarly, VoiceOver now has a Verbosity panel. Although it is limited, this section in VoiceOver Settings allows you to adjust the amount of information that is given by VoiceOver. Currently there are options for Speak Hints and Speak Emoji Suffix.

New Audio Settings

Additionally, in iOS 10, VoiceOver Settings now includes an Audio section. In this section, you can find a toggle to Auto Select Speaker in Call. If this feature is enabled, you’ll notice the same behavior you always have when making or receiving a phone call with VoiceOver running. However, if you turn this option off, calls will no longer be affected by the proximity sensor, regardless of whether or not VoiceOver is running. The second option in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Audio will only appear if a stereo audio device is connected. This could include headphones or a bluetooth speaker. With headings called Speech Channel and Sound Channel, this option allows you to control whether VoiceOver speech and sounds come through the left channel (or speaker) or right channel (or speaker).

Voices

Another great addition to the VoiceOver section in Accessibility Settings is the inclusion of more voices. If you don’t like the current options for VoiceOver voices on iOS 10, if you get bored of voices easily, or if you just like using different voices for different tasks, you will be happy with iOS 10. New voices have been added for use with VoiceOver. Feel free to check them all out in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Speech > Voice.

Custom Rotor Actions

Lastly, there is a new feature in iOS 10 that may affect how you use the OS as a whole, and apps that are updated to support it. It is an option for developers called Custom Rotor Actions. This allows users to quickly accomplish tasks using the rotor, instead of searching for buttons or using a pass-through gesture. There are many examples of this, but here are two great examples:

When on the home screen in iOS 10, you will notice VoiceOver tells you the actions are available for each app, and if you swipe down, there is an option for Arrange Apps. If you would like more information about how to arrange apps this way, we have a great post about that here on iAccessibility.

Secondly, you will notice custom rotor actions in the Mail app. When you come across mail threads in your inbox, there will be a new “Expand Thread” option. This allows you to quickly interact with mail threads without having to leave your list of other messages. In addition, if you tap on a message to view it, there will be a Messages rotor action. It will allow you to quickly navigate the thread as a whole, and read all of its messages.

Custom Rotor actions is a wonderful feature, which is sure to improve your iOS 10 experience and productivity.

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Organizing Apps in iOS 10 With Voiceover

Up until iOS 10, the process for a Voiceover user to move apps and organize them into folders involved some work. One had to use the pass-through gesture-the 1-finger double tap and hold to get into editing mode. Then one had to be careful and drag icons around the screen to be on top of each other to create folders. Now this is all new in iOS 10. The rotor now simplifies the whole process of moving apps around and creating folders.

To Move apps:

  1. Ensure you’re on the home screen.
  2. Voiceover will say something like, “camera actions available.”
  3. Ensuring your rotor is set to actions, do a 1-finger swipe down.
  4. Voiceover will say arrange apps.
  5. Do a 1-finger double tap. Voiceover says arranging apps.
  6. At this point you are in a screen and are in edit mode.
  7. we will take camera as an example, you can swipe down and you will have the following option: Move Camera
  8. Do a 1-finger double tap Voiceover says choose a destination for camera.
  9. Find photos by swiping left and/or right on your home screen.
  10. As you swipe down, you have:
  11. Cancel move of camera
  12. Create new folder with photos and camera
  13. Place camera before photos
  14. Place camera after photos
  15. Activate
  16. To create a folder, do a 1-finger double tap on the create folder option.
  17. A box is displayed allowing one to change the pre-written folder name.
  18. Other options include allowing one to move the order of apps-move camera before or after photos as we used in the above example.

 

Note: To Move Apps to say the dock or a different page while in editing mode you can use your standard gestures to scroll to a different page. One can also navigate to the dock and move apps in one of four positions within the dock.

 

When one finishes editing, push the home button to get out of editing mode. Voiceover says “finished editing.”

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Resources

Online Resources

There are many online resources for VoiceOver.

Apple Accessibility
The home page for Apple’s accessibility department.

AppleVis
AppleVis is the biggest online repository of information on iOS app accessibility.

The iAccessibility Report
The iAccessibility Report is a blog dedicated to reviewing iOS app accessibility.

App Store Resources

Resources in the app store by iAccessibility

App Store – Michael Doise
VoiceOver and Braille Resources in the App Store

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Automatic App Updates

Automatic app updates from the App Store is a great new feature for iOS and OS X, but it is not the best feature for VoiceOver users.

When a developer makes an update to their app, they typically make changes to the user interface of that app, which can make part or all of that app inaccessible to VoiceOver users. Because of this fact, it is probably a good idea for VoiceOver users to disable their automatic app updates for their devices.

<h2>Disable Automatic App Updates</h2>

<ol>
<li>From your home screen, go to <strong>settings.</strong></li>
<li>From the main menu in Settings, go to <strong>iTunes and App Store</strong></li>
<li>Find the section that says <strong>Automatic Downloads</strong></li>
<li>double or split tap the switch next to <strong>Updates</strong></li>
</ol>

This process makes sure that any currently accessible apps stay accessible until an accessible update becomes available.
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Making and Receiving Calls

There are very few changes to VoiceOver. One important change is that VoiceOver no longer announces notifications during phone calls. This means that while you are in a call, VoiceOver will remain silent. Your notification sound will play, but VoiceOver will not speak until you end your current call.

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Notification Center

If you have used VoiceOver in previous versions of iOS, you’ll notice that Notification Center works the same in iOS 7 as it would in iOS 6 and earlier. This section will discuss the new changes made to Notification Center and how they affect VoiceOver.

Accessing Notification Center

    Since the introduction of notification center, VoiceOver users tap once on the status bar then swipe down with three fingers. Now, VoiceOver users can access Notification Center from the lock screen by using the same method.
    <h2>Notification Center Areas</h2>
    There are three areas now in Notification center that inlcude <strong>Today</strong>, <strong>All</strong>, and <strong>Missed</strong>. VoiceOver users can get to each of these areas by finding desired tab at the top and double/split tapping on it
    <h2>The Today Tab</h2>
    The today tab is different for each user and each device. For example, a user's iPhone may display their home and work calendar, their alrms, driving time to work, bookmarked stocks, and the weather. That user's iPad may only display their home calendar, and weather. Another user may see totally diffrent items on their Today tab
    <h2>the All Tab</h2>
    The All tab is simply a history all received notifications. This tab displays the same information as notification center in previous versions of iOS.
    <h2>the Missed Tab</h2>
    The Missed tab shows all notifications that were missed on other devices. Notifications on this tab are displayed in the same format as the All tab, and can be removed by tapping the clear button next to the app's name.
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Multitasking

In ioS 6 and earlier, double clicking the Home button opens the app switcher. This has not changed with the release of iOS 7, but the format of the app switcher has.

Switching Apps

    <p>The app switcher experience in iOS 7 remains relatively unchanged in iOS 7. Flick left or right to move between the apps on your device. VoiceOver will now announce the status of that app. For example, VoiceOver will announce, "running" when an app has active background services
    VoiceOver will announce the home screen option when you flick left to the first option in the list of the open app list. Double/split tapping this option will bring you to the last visited page of the home screen.
    <h2>Closing Apps</h2>
    While in the app switcher flick left or right to find the app you would like to close and swipe up with three fingers to close it.
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Control Center

Control center is a new feature in iOS. Control Center lets users change common settings without the need to open the Settings app. Some settings include WIFI, Brightness, BlueTooth, Volume, Airplane Mode, AirDrop, and Airplay. There are even shortcuts to the camera, and calendar apps in the control center.

Accessing Control Center

    To access Control Center, simply find the status bar with your VoiceOver cursor, and swipe up with three fingers to open control center.
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Lock screen

The lock screen in iOS 7 is very similar to the lock screen of iOS 6 and earlier, but with some improvements.

Widgets

    iOS 7 uses a style similar to widgets on other mobile platforms. The standard widget is the time, but if you are playing audio, then the standard lock screen widget will be the audio player widget. If you are near a location that uses passbook, you can see a small picture of your card, along with the option to unlock to scan your card there on the lock screen.
    <h2>Unlocking your device</h2>
    Below are the current/new ways to unlock your device from the lock screen.
    <ul>
        <li>As with earlier releases of iOS, you can unlock your device by finding and double/split tapping the slide to unlock button.</li>
        <li>Also in previous versions of iOS, double tap a notification to unlock your device to that application.</li>
        <li>New to iOS 7, take three fingers and flick right from anywhere on the screen. This will unlock your device and bring you to your last location.</li>
    </ul>
    <h2>Control and Notification Centers</h2>
    Control center and Notification center can now be accessed from the lock screen as well. open those sections of this app to learn more about them. accessing these features work the same even if your on your lock screen.

    There have been many improvements to the lock screen, so it's really a good idea to explore this area, and see what changes or aditions you can find that we have not discussed here.
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VoiceOver Settings

Two new options have been added to the VoiceOver settings page in the Settings app. Languages and dialects, and Large Cursor

Languages and Dialects

VoiceOver in iOS6 had an option called Language Rotor, which let users place their favorite languages on the rotor. In iOS 7, Languages and Dialects contains settings for switching the default VoiceOver voice, and to add multiple languages to VoiceOver. There is also an option to download the enhanced version of that voice, and iOS will even report the size of the enhanced voice.

Large Cursor

When VoiceOver is focused on content or controls, a small box is shown around the focused item. This is called the VoiceOver Cursor. The Large Cursor setting transforms the VoiceOver cursor into a thickly lined box with a red border to emphasize focus.

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iOS 7 Change Summary

While the release of iOS 7 introduces many visual changes, VoiceOver has remained relatively unchanged. Consequently, VoiceOver users should notice very few changes to the day to day operation of their devices.

VoiceOver Settings

There are two new settings in the Voiceover settings section of the Settings app. Languages and Dialects, and Large Cursor. Go to the VO Settings section to learn more about these options.

The Lock Screen

The lock screen is similar to what you know, but now it’s even easier for VoiceOver users to unlock their devices.

Control Center

Control Center is a new feature offered in iOS 7that lets you switch common settings on or off from any app. Choose that topic to learn how to access it.

Multitasking

iOS has had a simple form of app switching for some time. now, with iOS 7, multitasking and app switching works a bit differently., so this section will explore how this works and how to close running apps.

Notification Center

Notification Center is a handy place to keep track of all of your notifications. In iOs 7, there are several new features and areas in notification center. Open this section to learn more about these new features.

Phone Calls

While little has changed in making calls with VoiceOver, there are still changes that a new user should be aware of. Read this section of the app to learn more. 

Automatic App Updates

Automatic app updates are a nice way to make sure that your apps stay up to date and secure, but sometimes this can remove accessibility in those updated apps. read the automatic app updates section of this app to find out how to disable this feature.

Resources

<

p dir=”ltr”>We will post several resources sections as the app updates. These sections will point you in the direction of online learning resources, and to other apps in the iOS App Store to help you find out new ways to use VoiceOver It is also a good idea to follow accessibility.net and AppleVis for the best online VoiceOver resources and help.